At the Sewanee Review, we don’t think Christmas decorations should go up before Halloween. Conversations about what will win Best Picture should be reserved for afternoon coffee breaks after the New Year. And we, like many of you, are suspect of best-of lists that appear eight weeks before the ball drops on Times Square. We’re also not thrilled that the first snow flurries fell on the Mountain yesterday afternoon; it all keeps happening too early, too soon.
But we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that all of this over-eager preparation doesn’t excite us because this time of year also means we have the chance to reflect on an incredible year for the Review—one that’s been even better for previous contributors to our magazine.
Alexia Arthurs’ short story “Mermaid River” (Spring 2018) was not only a Distinguished Story in Best American Short Stories 2019 but was also featured in this year’s O. Henry Prize Stories. Mallory Willens’ “Scandalous Women in History” (Fall 2018) won a Pushcart Prize. “Something About Love” by Alex Ohlin (Winter 2018), “Inheritance” by Megan Mayhew Bergman (Fall 2018), and “Beautiful People” by Lisa Taddeo (Summer 2018), were all recognized as Distinguished Stories in Best American Short Stories. “The Autobiography of My Novel” by Alexander Chee (Spring 2018) was featured in Best American Essays 2019, and Lauren Elkin’s “This Is the Beginning of Writing” (Fall 2018) was recognized as a Notable Essay in the same volume. J. P. Grasser’s poem “Lesson in Winter” (Fall 2018) was selected by Cate Marvin for Best New Poets 2019.
We also have some thrilling news about one of our regular contributors, Sidik Fofana. Sidik’s debut story, “The Okiedoke,” was published in the Winter 2017 of the Review. We have since published two more of his stories: “The Rent Manual” and “Ms. Battles,” in Fall 2017 and 2018 respectively. We’re thrilled to share the news that Sidik signed a deal with Scribner for his collection Stories from Our Tenants Downstairs, which will arrive in 2021 (but if you subscribe today, you can get a head start on these stories, and all of these other remarkable contributions, with access to our full archive).
We’re also pleased to announce the winners of five awards given annually by the magazine for the finest work published in these pages.
The Allen Tate Prize for the best poem published in 2019 is awarded to
Garrett Hongo for “A Garland of Light” (Summer issue).
The Andrew Lytle Prize for the best story published in 2019 is awarded to
Shawn Vestal for “Teamwork” (Summer issue).
The Monroe K. Spears Prize for the best essay published in 2019 is awarded to
Melissa Febos for “Thesmophoria” (Spring issue).
The Robert B. Heilman Award for the best review published in 2019 is awarded to
Stephanie Danler for “Her Kind: A Reaction to Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women” (Summer issue).
And the Walter Sullivan Award, given to a promising writer in any genre,
is awarded to Jamil Jan Kochai for “Saba’s Story” (Winter issue).
We hope you’ll join us in celebrating the work of these authors. The best way to ensure that you are caught up on the best of 2019, and that you’ll be the first to meet next year’s all-stars? Subscribe to the Review (or give a gift subscription to a friend).
Finally, we hope that you, like all of us here at the Review, are looking forward to the end of 2019 and to an equally amazing 2020.